Today's topic for rumination is from Kuffeh, of The Trading Post fame. A worthy choice, and a subject, incidentally, which is close to my heart.
Gaming, for me, and the vast majority of gamers is about fun. Be it a pick-up game with a mate or an organised tournament for the title 'supreme overlord wargamer'. Now, I love winning as much as the next fellow, but I've enjoyed plenty of games where I've been backed into a corner and hacked to pieces. Why would you enjoy such a thing, I hear you say. Because my opponent fought with grace and sportsmanship. Such players are a joy to game with.
Most of the fellows I game with enjoy the odd jibe when something particularly entertaining happens in a game. I tend to indulge in this habit myself, but I'd never do it against a player I haven't fought before. I've been gaming with my group now for close to an aeon, and we all know each other well enough to laugh uproariously at each others expense, so this kind of thing is as much part of the comfortable ritual of gaming as the armies and play styles we use. However, there is still a basic set of unspoken rules that we all abide by, which I guess forms our version of gaming etiquette. We all know the rules (though we are often forgetful. Comes with age I guess), we all play for fun first and foremost, and so there are no pedantic rules lawyers tolerated, disputes are often sorted by the roll of a dice and investigated later for the exact truth of the matter. Coaching from spectators is heavily frowned on. We all have our lists and army books sorted, and we never mishandle other folks miniatures or gaming gear. This is a biggie for me. Folks know they are likely to lose a hand if they pick up my necromancer with greasy fingers.
Generally, I find if I can keep my competitive nature under control, and play the game with the aim of entertaining myself and my opponent as much as possible, all is well. If this means pointing out he's forgotten to fire his organ gun, so be it. I'd rather weather it's fire and know I murdered the crew and hung their chewed remains from nearby trees fairly and square.
One of the things that prompts me to play this way is that I have encountering gamers that do not play with either fair play or sportsmanship in mind, and have no social scruples when gaming, and having to keep an eye on someone to see if they are playing honestly is stressful. A game against these (thankfully very rare) players is a much fun as sticking heated needles into your own eyeballs. Especially when they win. Those are the occasions where I look at my spiky battle standard as a potential murder weapon. However! This is a tremendously rare occurrence, but it does make me appreciate the great players I usually encounter, and makes me more determined to play as fairly and good-naturedly as I can bearing in mind my burning desire for the blood of mortals.
So, I guess I would define good player etiquette as endeavouring to be that player you're only too happy to game with again.